Construction sites are often a whirlwind of activity, but Birmingham-based Robins & Morton faced an interesting challenge while working on a seven-story, 350,000-square-foot expansion for the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida — a major hurricane.
“During the construction activities, we had Hurricane Irma come through,” says Alan Johnson, senior project manager. “That particular facility opted to stay open during the hurricane and became an area of refuge for the City of Miami Beach police department and their staff.”
Still, the new tower, including a surgical area with 12 operating rooms, 40 ICU beds and 140 general beds, was finished on time.
Irma wasn’t the only complication, as Mount Sinai Medical Center continued to operate while the new tower was being built.
“Additions and renovations like Mount Sinai are complicated and difficult and need the appropriate experienced staff to get the project built and keep us out of trouble,” says Bruce Adams, vice president for Robins & Morton. “Building alongside an operating hospital, that just adds to the complexity.”
That meant that Robins & Morton, on the front end of the project, spent about a year on “enabling projects” — relocating certain buildings and services so the medical center could continue to operate, Johnson says. “There was a helipad located near the site, and we worked closely with the hospital to be sure they maintained helipad operations. There was continual communication between us and the facility. They’d let us know the helicopters were coming, and we’d secure the site.”
Those enabling projects plus the main construction meant a multiple-year project, but the new tower opened in January of this year.
“The construction team committed to a heads-in-beds date in a new tower and we made that commitment about three years prior to that,” Adams says. “Through all of that stuff, they had heads in beds on time. That’s incredible to me.”